The COVID effect

January 30, 2023


Preston Boysen

The halls of MCHS’s Upper Campus have been clearer since administration began a more concentrated effort to reduce cuts and wayward students, especially while “flexing” during blended classes.

While MCHS has faced many challenges and changes over the past couple of years, the school continues to improve and find better ways to motivate students. 

“What we struggle with as a disciplinary and school standpoint,” Agnello said, “is once the shift went to COVID and everything went online, we inadvertently almost said being in a classroom with a teacher is not necessary. Then we turned back around and said no, you have to be here. We’re at that conundrum — how do we show that the learning in the classroom is better, when all you guys know is go look at your grade? You’re taught to earn a grade.”

According to district data, class cuts this year have improved significantly compared to the 2021-22 school year — though seem to be slightly on the rise since October. (McHenry High School)

COVID has had many lasting effects on the educational system, and it is seen in the way students learn in today’s world. 

“Last year,” Agnello added, “I think [students] skipped a lot because coming back to structure, from online learning, seemed pointless. Kids need to see the reasoning behind things, and the reasoning was removed. COVID removed it. They were desperate to have connections with each other again and forced it in groups in the hallways with justification to do it later online.”

Blended learning classes complicated this new learning culture by creating safety and learning issues. Once a letter grade is earned, students are free, with teacher approval, to learn outside of the classroom that day. This can prevent students from making the connections or having the learning experience offered in a traditional classroom.

“High school is the last opportunity we have as a society to force you to get to know other people,” Agnello said, “to force you in a room with people who are not like you and we’re losing that. So long as you have a letter grade you don’t have to be in that classroom. I look at it from a philosophical standpoint, educationally I understand it … but I always default to what did you leave high school with and it’s not going to be just the grade. It’s always the connection with a teacher to a peer or an experience. I don’t want to see us lose out on these and lose out on the ability to hear each other’s voices.”

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